General Motors recently announced a pause on all autonomous vehicle operations after several high-profile accidents, one including a pedestrian. Automotive News reported that the automaker is also halting production of the Cruise Origin Van.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt made the announcement at a company all-hands meeting, noting that there were plenty of Origin vehicles already produced and said that there were enough to satisfy demand for the near term. The shutdown is expected to be temporary.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe into Cruise’s operations last month, looking at how the company dealt with safety precautions and pedestrian protection. It’s important to note that the Cruise Origin van we’re talking about here is different from the Chevy Bolt robotaxis the company deployed in California and elsewhere.
It’s certainly prudent for Cruise to pause operations while determining the best and safest path forward. Still, this move also illustrates the difficulties autonomous vehicles face, even when approached in a somewhat methodical fashion. Hands-off driving is available on highways and limited-access freeways, but navigating crowded city streets is on an entirely different level. Features like Tesla’s Full Self-Driving tech show promising signs of progress but are still years away from being safely deployed to the general driving public.
[Image: GM Cruise]
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